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The Analysis and Temporal Placement of the Archaeological Assemblage from Prehistoric Site CA-SCL-314

December 22nd, 2014 by Simratpal

Nicholas Lara

Primary Investigators: Nicholas Lara and Alan Leventhal.

Faculty Sponsors: Dr. Marco Meniketti and Mr. Alan Leventhal

Background: On August 18, 1978, human remains were discovered during the excavation of a swimming pool at a private residence located along Babb Creek in east San Jose near Alum Rock Park. At that time SJSU archaeologist Dr. Thomas Layton and Anthropology Lab Director Alan Leventhal got permission from the land owner and took the Archaeological Field Methods Class to the site. The field class conducted an archaeological data recovery program that included observations on the in situ skeleton, the screening of the backhoe excavated soils for the recovery of artifacts and ecofactual materials, photographing and profiling the exposed stratigraphy. Afterwards, the students processed the recovered assemblage, conducted analysis, and generated a draft report on the findings. Although this draft report was made available to members of the archaeological community, the report itself was never submitted to the Northwest Archaeological Information Center (then at Cabrillo College) and it was never published.

Since 1978 this archaeological assemblage has been curated in the SJSU archaeological lab. Recently, Anthropology undergraduate student Nicolas Lara who is enrolled in Leventhal’s 195 Anthropology Practicum class has taken the lead to conduct a reanalysis of the archaeological assemblage and co-author a final report on this site. During the early 1980s while reviewing the faunal assemblage it was noted that some human skeletal elements previously dislodged from the location of the in situ burial also have been reanalyzed by Leventhal, Lara and Anthropology alumna, Diane DiGiuseppe (who is currently working as a skeletal biologist).

Over the past 30 years there have been co-authored studies conducted in collaboration with the leadership and members of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe on other ancestral Ohlone populations. Bio-Anthropological scholars such as Dr. Eric Bartelink (CSU, Chico) have collaborated and published on Stable Isotope, Ancient DNA by Drs. Brian Kemp and Cara Monroe from Washington State University and Strontium Isotope by Dr. Jelmer Eerkens at U.C. Davis. A co-authored final report will present information on the field work, lab methods, paleo-environmental conditions, skeletal analysis/inventory, stable isotope analysis, ancient DNA, artifact analysis, C-14 (AMS) dating, obsidian hydration and an ethnohistory written by the Muwekma Ohlone Tribal leadership.

College of Social Sciences Foundation Research Grant:
In order to accomplish some Carbon 14 dating goals Nicolas applied for a grant from the College of Social Sciences Research Foundation this Fall 2014 semester. He was awarded $1375.00 for his research proposal and the resulting AMS dates from the radiocarbon lab will be updated here.

Native American Response and Resistance to Spanish Conquest in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1769-1846

September 17th, 2014 by Simratpal

Master’s Thesis Anthropology: Gustavo Adolfo Flores Santis (completed Fall 2014)

Faculty Committee Members: Dr. Charlotte Sunseri (Chair), Dr. Roberto Gonzalez, Dr. Damien Bacich and Mr. Alan Leventhal

gustavo santis
Background/Abstract: Gustavo’s study focused on how secular, governmental, and ecclesiastical Hispanic Empire institutions influenced the response and resistance of San Francisco Native American groups from 1769 to 1846. This project draws on late 18th and early 19th century primary Spanish documents and secondary sources to help understand the context of indigenous people’s adaptive and response behaviors during this period as well as the nuances of their perspective and experience. Using both electronic and physical documents from a number of archival databases, primary Spanish documents were translated and correlated with baptismal and death mission records. This allowed for formulating alternative perspectives and putting indigenous response and resistance into context. The results of this study indicated that when acts of resistance to the colonial mission system led by charismatic Native American leaders are placed into chronological order, it appears these responses did not consist of isolated incidents. Rather, they appear to be connected through complex networks of communication and organization, and formal Native American armed resistance grew more intensive over time.

Part of Gustavo’s study presented background information and ramifications of three significant Native American resistance leaders and their revolts spanning from 1821 to 1839: Pomponio an alcalde from Mission Dolores in San Francisco, Estanislao the alcalde from Mission San José and Yozcolo an alcalde from Mission Santa Clara.

Recent Accomplishments and Projects: Gustavo has worked on various lithic (stone tool) collections at SJSU. In 2013 presented a summary of his study at the Southwestern Anthropological Association (SWAA) conference in Orange County. He has also worked on the Roberto/Suñol Adobe project with Judge Paul Bernal. More recently he has been hired as an archaeological field technician with Holman and Associates and has been excavating at CA-SMA-78 in the City of Hillsborough. He is currently involved with researching and translating 19th Century Spanish primary documents for the Bay Area Cultural Landscape Research Group (BACLRG), a collaboration between Foothill College, Stanford University, and Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District. Gustavo is also working in collaboration with Native American archaeologist Dr. Michael Wilcox from Stanford. Recently (Fall 2014) Gustavo has been hired to teach Introduction to Cultural Anthropology at Evergreen Valley College. He was hired by another SJSU Anthropology Alum Arturo Villarreal who has been teaching fulltime at EVC for many years.

 

The Skeletal Biology and Archaeological Analysis of Prehistoric Site: CA-SCL-851

February 17th, 2014 by Anthropology Department

Primary Investigators: Colin Jaramillo and Alan Leventhal.

Colin Jaramillo examining skeletal remains.

 

 Faculty Sponsors: Dr. Marco Meniketti and Mr. Alan Leventhal

Background: In the year 2000, construction for a Public Storage facility near downtown San Jose uncovered Native American remains beneath the planned foundation and parking area. Once the skeletons were uncovered during construction, Public Storage contracted with the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe’s Ohlone Families Consulting Services to develop a mitigation program that included a burial and archaeological data recovery program.  A total of 10 ancestral Ohlone skeletons were recovered from site CA-SCL-851, also renamed by the Muwekma Tribe as the ’Utthin širkeewis Tcitca ’Irekmatka [Two Black Obsidian Rocks Site].  Following the burial recovery, there was no funding provided by Public Storage for any of the osteological or archaeological analyses and as a result these individuals have since been curated at San Jose State University, and have been periodically reviewed by faculty and students as part of Leventhal’s Anthropology 195 class.  Recently there have been collaborative studies conducted on this population by Dr. Eric Bartelink (CSU, Chico) on Stable Isotope, and Ancient DNA by Drs. Brian Kemp and Cara Monroe from Washington State University.  A co-authored final report will present information on the field work, excavation methods, paleo-environmental conditions, skeletal analysis/inventory, stable isotope analysis, ancient DNA, artifact analysis, C-14 (AMS) dating, obsidian hydration and an ethnohistory of written by the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe.

 College of Social Sciences Foundation Research Grant: 
In order to accomplish some dating goals stated above Colin applied for a grant from the College of Social Sciences Research Foundation this past Fall 2012 semester.  Colin was awarded $2000.00 for his research proposal and the resulting AMS dates from Beta Analytic will be updated here. Colin will be presenting information on this collaborative study at the 41st Annual Western Departments of Anthropology and Sociology Undergraduate Research Conference, Santa Clara University on Saturday, April 12, 2014.

The Archaeological Analysis of Prehistoric Site SCR-12

February 17th, 2014 by Anthropology Department

Primary Investigator/Master’s Project: Gerald Starek, Jr.

Faculty Sponsors: Dr. Marco Meniketti, Dr. Charlotte Sunseri, and Mr. Alan Leventhal

Background: In 1986 the Department of Anthropology at San Jose State University conducted a field school on a portion of prehistoric site CA-SCR-12 located near downtown Santa Cruz.  After completion of the excavation a preliminary review and classification of the archaeological assemblage had been made by SJSU staff.  Furthermore, previous investigations published limited results from adjacent areas of this massive site, however, no attempt at radiocarbon dating the age of this site had ever occurred.  Furthermore, although obsidian was recovered from the 1986 excavation as well as earlier investigations, no attempt by any of the archaeological investigators was made to either source (through XRF) the obsidian flaked stone artifacts or conduct hydration (dating) studies.  Permission has been granted by the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe to pursue radiocarbon dating of the human remains and features recovered from the site and also to conduct obsidian sourcing and hydration studies on the artifacts.  Analysis of the archaeological assemblage recovered from this site has been conducted as part of Leventhal’s Anthropology 195/280 class during the 2012 Fall semester.  These studies will contribute to the writing of a final archaeological report on the CA-SCR-12 excavations as part of Gerald’s thesis.

 

College of Social Sciences Foundation Research Grant: Gerald was awarded $1995.00 for his research and the resulting AMS dates from Beta Analytic were: 3,590± 30 years BP (corrected to 1956 BC on a human femur); 2990 ± 40 BP (556 BC) on a Sea Lion bone and, 2750 ±30 BP (240 BC) on California Mussel shell.

 

The Analysis of the Archaeological Assemblage from Prehistoric Site CA-SCL-671

May 16th, 2013 by Anthropology Department

Primary Investigators: Matthew Diez and Alan Leventhal (for Anthropology 195)

Faculty Sponsors: Dr. Marco Meniketti and Mr. Alan Leventhal

 Background: In 1989 Alan Leventhal in conjunction with student volunteers and members from the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe and Amah Mutsun Tribal Band conducted an archaeological salvage program on a portion of prehistoric site CA-SCL-671, located in northern Morgan Hill at the historic Murphy Springs locality.

After obtaining a negative declaration from an Archaeological/Cultural Resource Management (CRM) firm the developer proceeded to construct a series of single family houses, thus unsuspectingly destroying a major portion of this site.  After construction around the spring ceased the developer noticed an array of potential Native American artifacts in backdirt piles and he contacted Alan Leventhal for an assessment.  Upon surveying the impacted areas of the site, Leventhal and Ohlone Indian tribal representatives from the two tribes began collecting many groundstone, flaked stone and formed artifacts such as large dart points from disturbed contexts.  Based upon the types of archaeological artifacts recovered, the site had the potential of dating back to either Late Archaic and/or Early Bay time period (2000 – 4000 BC).

Leventhal requested permission to place a series of test excavations within an area that was to set aside as a park and slightly away from the area of impact.  Several of the excavation units yielded stratigraphic integrity that included the superposition of mortars and pestles, manos and metates and flaked stone artifacts.  Current research conducted as part of Leventhal’s Anthropology 195 class includes the comprehensive analysis of the recovered archaeological assemblage, temporal dating of the identified strata, obsidian sourcing and hydration studies and the writing of a final report co-authored with Matthew Diez.

 College of Social Sciences Foundation Research Grant:

In order to accomplish the dating of stratigraphic living surfaces identified at this site, Anthropology Senior, Matthew Diez applied for a grant from the College of Social Sciences Foundation Research and was awarded $1350.00 for his research design.  Before the end of the Spring 2013 semester, three samples will be sent to Lawrence Livermore Labs for C14 AMS dating.  Once the results have been obtained, they will be posted here.

 

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